ISMETT, 4 transplants performed in 48 hours. The COVID-19 emergency does not stop transplants.

In the space of 48 hours, two organ donations occurred at Civico Hospital in Ragusa and at Papardo Hospital in Messina, allowing IRCCS ISMETT to perform four organ transplants: three lung transplants and one combined liver-kidney transplant.

The recipients of the life-saving lung transplants were three patients with a severe end-stage respiratory failure. “Performing three lung transplants in such a short period of time,” said Dr. Alessandro Bertani, Chief of the Thoracic Surgery and Lung Transplant Unit of IRCCS ISMETT, “two of which performed simultaneously, is an extraordinary event and an important message to all patients waiting for a lung transplant in Sicily.”

The combined liver-kidney transplant was performed last Thursday. “The recipient of this delicate surgical procedure,” said Prof. Salvatore Gruttadauria, Director of the Department for the Treatment and Study of Abdominal Diseases and Abdominal Transplantation of IRCCS ISMETT, “was a 38-year-old man with a rare metabolic disease: primary hyperoxaluria.”

Despite the extremely strong commitment and great efforts made in the last weeks to address the current COVID-19 pandemic, IRCCS ISMETT’s transplant programs are continuing to provide patients suffering an end-stage organ disease the possibility to be treated. At IRCCS ISMETT, organ transplants and complex surgical oncology procedures are regularly performed, thus ensuring continuity of care to patients, in line with the guidelines of the Italian National Transplant Center (CNT) on the management of organ donors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Transplant recipients are managed, from the moment a potential donor becomes available, by a multidisciplinary team of surgeons, specialist physicians and nursing coordinators working in synergy with the Sicilian Regional Transplant Center (CRT) and the network of intensive care units, proving that, even in a time of crisis and with limited staff, the entire donation-transplant process can be successfully completed also in Sicily.

“We particularly wish to acknowledge,” said the IRCCS ISMETT Director of Health Care Activities, “the work of the local transfusion center that, in such difficult times and with an extremely limited number of blood donations, still manages to ensure the necessary blood supplies for transplants and complex surgical oncology procedures.”